WASHINGTON — The House Intelligence Committee plans to question Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, following testimony on Wednesday that suggested he has information relevant to hush money payments to women during the 2016 campaign and other fraudulent activity the Trump Organization may have been involved in.
“The Committee anticipates bringing in Mr. Weisselberg,” a Democratic aide told BuzzFeed News. The committee’s plans were first reported by the Daily Beast.
Weisselberg was brought up multiple times Wednesday during Michael Cohen’s hearing before the House Oversight Committee, the only of multiple appearances Cohen has made on Capitol Hill this week that was public. Cohen is President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer and has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. Weisselberg was reportedly granted immunity by federal prosecutors last year in the investigation into Cohen, and his signature appears on a check Cohen provided to the committee as evidence. Cohen told lawmakers the check was part of a reimbursement for payments he made to Stormy Daniels, a porn star who allegedly had an affair with Trump, to prevent her from taking her story public during the 2016 campaign.
Following the hearing, Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings told reporters he spoke with California Rep. Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, adding that there would be “a number of things that he’s going to be able to use from our hearing for his hearing.”
There’s reason to believe that the Oversight Committee will also take interest in talking to Weisselberg itself. Asked if the committee would bring in Weisselberg and Donald Trump Jr. following the hearing, Cummings said, “we probably will,” adding that there are areas the committee has to be cautious of looking into in order to avoid interfering with work done by special counsel Robert Mueller and the Southern District of New York.
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Cummings said anyone Cohen had named would likely be called in to testify.
Spokespeople for the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating Russian election interference, declined to say whether the panel wants to interview or had already interviewed Weisselberg.
Members had several questions about Weisselberg’s work for Trump in Wednesday’s hearing that could preview the kinds of information the House Intelligence Committee will seek from him.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked Cohen if, to his knowledge, Trump had ever provided inflated assets to an insurance company, to which he responded affirmatively. When she followed up to ask who else knew that Trump did that, Weisselberg was among those Cohen named.
Ocasio-Cortez also asked about an October 2018 New York Times report that said Trump participated in tax fraud to increase his own wealth. Cohen said he didn’t know if that report was accurate, but when Ocasio-Cortez followed up to see who would know the answer to questions about the report, Cohen again pointed to Weisselberg.
California Rep. Ro Khanna, another member of the Oversight Committee, questioned Cohen about payments he received from the Trump Organization. He asked Cohen about the check Weisselberg and Donald Trump Jr. signed.
“Payments like this check resulted in numerous false statements in the books and records of the Trump Organization. And it’s important for the American public to understand this. Nothing to do with collusion. This is financial fraud, garden-variety financial fraud. It was disguised as a payment for legal services to you,” Khanna said to Cohen.
“I just want the American public to understand that solely apart from Bob Mueller’s investigation, there is garden-variety financial fraud, and your allegation and the explosive smoking gun document suggests that the president, his son, and his [chief financial officer] may be involved in a criminal conspiracy.”
Weisselberg has worked for the Trump organization for more than 40 years, and initially worked for Fred Trump, Trump’s father. He has remained a constant fixture in Trump world in the decades since he first fell into the family’s orbit, and is so close to the now-president that in a 2016 Wall Street Journal profile, a former Trump employee said, to describe the relationship between Weisselberg and Trump, “If Donald had a cold, he [Allen] would sneeze.”
The White House declined to comment. The Trump Organization did not immediately return a request for comment.
Tarini Parti contributed reporting to this story.